The NBA referees admitted they missed a call on Houston Rockets forward James Harden, one that was cause to plenty of controversy, as Harden used a gathering step-back twice on Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio.
"It looked like he did two step backs." 😂 pic.twitter.com/k0V0AQLStB
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 18, 2018
“The offensive player gathers the ball while on his right foot. He then takes a step with his left foot (step 1) into a hop step, landing first with his right foot (step 2) and then illegally with his left (step 3). We missed this one — it is a traveling violation,” the referees concluded in their official Twitter account.
This is hardly the first time Harden has used this maneuver, yet he’s become so known for this move that it is hardly ever called by the officials.
Illegal steps and all, Harden wind up with a game-high 47 points and a crucial win over the Jazz to propel his Rockets to 15-14.
Game officials will surely be on the lookout for this move in the future, given the constant attention it’s gotten from opposing coaches, fans, and the rest of the league, who has been dubious of the soundness of his fundamentals when gathering his dribble and raising up to shoot.
Harden’s step-back is one of the most lethal moves in the NBA today, but even The Beard has to abide by the rules of the game.